William Wieland's Family Biography (created at the request of my students) William Wieland
Childhood I grew up on a livestock and small grain farm near Dazey, ND where my brother and his family still live. My wife grew up on a similar farm near Kathryn, ND. We and our children enjoy spending time on the farms and continue making fond memories with those rural communities.
Music/Math Though I took piano lessons from the 3rd grade through college, during high school I wanted to be a dairy farmer and had not chosen a major when I enrolled at Valley City State College in Valley City, ND. Mary Ann and I met at VCSC. After declaring a math major, I gradually decided that music classes were easier and more fun for me. I did minor in math and a math professor, Roger Rand, was my advisor until I graduated. Playing piano in the late 70s
Twin Cities
& Badlands
I lived in Minneapolis, MN for two years while working on my master's degree at the The University of Minnesota, spending the summers in Medora, ND, next to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I played keyboards in the Medora Musical (192 performances). Mary Ann worked for a time in both Minneapolis and Medora.
Skydiving While studying in the Twin Cities, I went skydiving with my cousin. I had never flown before skydiving. For several months I could say that I had taken off in a plane, but never landed.
Wedding After I graduated with a Master of Arts, we enjoyed a hot air balloon ride as our early wedding gift to each other. We celebrated a traditional country wedding in Kathryn, ND with over 200 guests.
Chicago After our honeymoon in the Canadian rockies, we moved to Illinois and for six years lived eight blocks north of Chicago in Evanston, IL while I worked on my doctoral degree in music composition at Northwestern University. Mary Ann's job paid the bills. We frequented ethnic restaurants, museums, theatres, Orchestra Hall, and Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Peace Corps In 1990 we decided to join the Peace Corps. This had been a dream of mine for many years. After completing the lengthy application and interview process, the Peace Corps turned us down because of my heart condition. We asked them to return our file. “Laos couple” was handwritten on our application.
South Dakota In 1994 we moved to Aberdeen and I began paying the bills. Since moving to Aberdeen we have had three children. Mary Ann is able to stay at home with our kids.
Teaching The courses I teach and most of my course materials are on my homepage. I teach freshman theory every day of the week. This fosters great camaraderie among the music majors. I teach private and class piano. (Every music major must demonstrate keyboard competency.) Other courses I teach include music composition, upper level music theory, and online classes. Educators at small universities wear many hats.
German I speak only German to my children. When they were young, our favorite books included Usborne's vocabulary/picture book First Thousand Words in German, Eric Carle's Die kleine Raupe Nimmersatt, and Marcus Pfister's Der Regenbogenfisch. When they were a little older, we enjoyed several books by Janosch including Oh, wie schön ist Panama, Post für den Tiger, and Ich mach dich gesund, sagte der Bär. When they started school we enjoyed Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Langstrumpf and Otfried Preußler's Der Räuber Hotzenplotz.
Literature I enjoy listening to my wife read aloud. I tried reading to her, but put her to sleep. My wife does great voices. I suspect that few have read all of Moby Dick aloud! We particularly like Jane Austen as well as series like The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.
Health If you're unhealthy, you can't do anyone any good. Better health is one of my top priorities. I exercise, eat right, and get enough sleep.
Exercise Mary Ann and I both walk for exercise, though not together since we walk at different speeds. (She says walking with me is like walking a golden retriever. She wants a leash.) I walked my kids to elementary and middle school almost every school day from 2002–2014. Most days I take an early morning, 30+ minute walk before breakfast. Every third day or during inclement weather, I do calisthenics.
Eat Right I eat vegetables, fruit, whole grains, protein, and skim milk at every meal. My breakfast is Cheerios with milk, frozen peas (just thawed), and an orange. I eat meat at least once a day, pink salmon once a week, and tuna canned in water once a week. I snack on unsalted nuts, seeds, and air popped popcorn. I have a single glass of red wine every evening before bed.
Sleep Getting a good night's sleep is more challenging as we grow older. I have scheduled a power nap most days of the week. Mary Ann benefits from morning sleep, so I try to be quiet in the morning.
My Heart I had open heart surgery in June 2014. I was born with a heart condition and today I have two artificial heart valves. Please read more at My Heart Story.
Conservation We are conservationists. Reduce, reuse, recycle, renew! We drive small cars which get almost 40 mpg. Our Nissan Leaf is completely electric. We compost, mow with an electric mower, and have no dryer. Mary Ann hangs all of our clothes to dry. After the first hard frost, we invite family and friends to our basement to press apples into juice. Our press is the Homesteader from Happy Valley Ranch. During summer vacation I use a solar oven which I designed and built: 2007 Solar Oven. I learned much from the Solar Cookers International Network website. We also installed Solar Panels.
Travel My mother-in-law, father-in-law, wife, and I drove to Alaska in 1996—8000 miles in 4 weeks. Mary Ann and I have traveled to Germany and Norway several times including a train trip from southern Germany to Bodø, a Norwegian city above the Arctic Circle. I took my eldest son to Germany for a month when he was three. Though I am a fourth generation German-American, I still keep in touch with my distant cousins. From August, 2010 to March 2011, we hosted a German foreign exchange student, my 3rd cousin Franz-Georg Wieland. Mary Ann corresponds with her Norwegian relatives. My wife grew up taking a family trip each summer. Our immediate family has continued this tradition and we have adopted a three-year cycle: regional trip, national trip, and international trip. (Don't overlook what is in your own backyard.)
2003 — Seattle & Port Angeles, WA
2004 — Sioux Falls & De Smet, SD
2005 — Iceland, southern Norway,
  southern Germany, & Salzburg
2009 — SD Badlands & Black Hills
2010 — Washington D.C. (Amtrak)
2011 — Iceland, northern Norway,
  southern Germany, & Alsace
2015 — Omaha, NE
2016 — Rocky Mtn. Natl. Park
2017 — southern Germany and
  a day trip to Switzerland
2006 — Winnipeg & northeast ND
2007 — Chicago
2008 — Seattle (Amtrak),
  Port Angeles, WA & Victoria, BC
2012 — Twin Cities & central MN
2013 — Yellowstone Natl. Park
2014 — Minneapolis, Chicago,
  Interlochen, & Terrace Bay, ON
2018 — Mason City, IA & Chicago
2019 — Boston?
2020 — P.E.I.?
Miscellany I complete about one commissioned composition per year. I join over 100 music theory instructors from across the nation in Cincinatti for one week each summer and correct over 18,000 AP Music Theory exams. I teach piano and coordinate the piano program (week 4) at the International Music Camp on the Manitoba/North Dakota border almost every summer. I sing and help accompany the Festival Choir for Hoven's Christmas on the Prairie. I am a board member and past president of the Aberdeen Community Concert Association. I am the Lincoln Maids and Spaids 4-H leader and Brown County 4-H Leaders Association Secretary. I belong to the local Pax Christi group, a peace organization.
You've read my story. Please tell me about yourself sometime!

Bill and Mary Ann Wieland
1521 South Main Street
Aberdeen, SD 57401
tel: 605-229-3786
Extended Family
Wieland Genealogy   Old Photos
Wieland Crest (Larger)
Berger Crest (Larger)
2013 Peggy Wieland Interview - part 1
2013 Peggy Wieland Interview - part 2
2013 Peggy Wieland Interview - part 3
2012 Ray Arbuckle Interview - part 1
2012 Ray Arbuckle Interview - part 2
2012 Ray Arbuckle Interview - part 3